The British Invasion

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Rock ‘N’ Roll was travelling across the Atlantic Ocean and slowly making an impact in Great Britain and Europe in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. Some British groups, especially in Liverpool,  started to merge the American style of music with their own in 1962. This new sound became known as Merseybeat. That same year, some of these acts, reached The Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

At the same time in the United States, teenagers, were looking for something fresh, and it was about to happen.

The Washington Post published the first story in the United States regarding the excitement The Beatles were creating  in England.

On December 17, 1963, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was played on WWDC, Washington, D.C. The next day the local record stores couldn’t fill the requests for a record which wasn’t even in stock. Capitol Records released it on December 26, three weeks ahead of schedule. Since most teenagers were home for Christmas vacation, sales skyrocketed, and Beatlemania spread quickly throughout the United States.

In January, 1964, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was near the top in almost every Top 40 music survey in the United States. In the January 25, 1964 edition of Cash Box magazine it reached number one.

On Sunday, February 9, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Approximately 73 million viewers in the United States had their televisions tuned in to see this new group from England.

The arrival of The Beatles in the U.S. and their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show is believed by many to be the start of The British Invasion.

The Beatles’ popularity by leaps and bounds along with their song writing ability and appeal. On April 4, they held the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, and since then, no one has simultaneously held even the top three. The Beatles opened the floodgates for artists from the United Kingdom as The British Invasion gained speed.

During the next few years there were many performers who were part of The British Invasion. Here are a few: Dusty Springfield, Peter and Gordon, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, Herman’s Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Troggs, Lulu, The Searchers, Billy J. Kramer, Chad and Jeremy, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Them, Van Morrison, Tom Jones and quite a few more.

In May of 1965, The British Invasion was the closest to a clean sweep of the weekly Hot 100′s Top 10, closer than it had ever been. The number two spot was occupied by “Count Me In” by Gary Lewis and The Playboys. A;so in 1965, half of the twenty-six Billboard Hot 100 Chart Toppers belonged to performers of The British Invasion.

The majority of the musicians who were performing in Great Britain and Europe were influenced by early U.S. rockers, namely; Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and a host of others. This influence helped to shape their music.

Now, the reverse has happened. The British Invasion impacted music tremendously, and helped to make Rock ‘N’ Roll a worldwide entity. It also changed or ended the careers of many American musicians who were very popular prior to the invasion.

By the late 1960′s to the mid-1970′s the dominance of The British Invasion dwindled. There were a few exceptions in the early 1970′s, but in all reality The British Invasion was over!

Source – Wikipediadownload (15)

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